Michigan’s Detroit-area has reported more than 20 cases of life-threatening LEPTOSPIROSIS in DOGS this month ~ Montana FWP and Wisconsin DNR call for volunteers to monitor WOLF population ~ California and Connecticut city officials report MOUNTAIN LION sightings ~ a ROCKY MOUNTAIN SPOTTED FEVER report from Arkansas ~ and RABIES reports from California, & New York.

Labrador Retriever. Photo by Webdude1. Wikimedia Commons.

Michigan 10/27/11msu.edu: News Release – More than 20 cases of the life-threatening bacterial infection leptospirosis have been reported in Detroit-area dogs in the past three weeks, according to Michigan State University’s Diagnostic Center for Population and Animal Health. Experts at the MSU center, a service unit of the College of Veterinary Medicine, diagnosed the specific strain of the disease, which can cause fatal damage to dogs and can be transmitted to humans. In most cases, the dogs were not vaccinated against leptospirosis, or they had an uncertain vaccination history. Because this particular type of leptospirosis is associated with contact with rats, stray dogs are typically thought to be at highest risk.

Dr. Carole Bolin

“What is particularly unusual about this outbreak is that the dogs affected are not stray animals, but people’s pets,” said Carole Bolin, director of the Diagnostic Center. “Unfortunately, we expect to see more cases, and this is a very dangerous type of leptospirosis. Many veterinarians have never seen this type in dogs because it was markedly reduced by vaccination.”

Bolin and her team performed diagnostic testing and identified the particular strain of infection as icterohaemorrhagiae, which can cause severe disease in humans and animals. It is commonly carried by rats but also can be transmitted dog-to-dog or dog-to-human. Bolin is aware of nine dogs that died or were euthanized as a result of the disease, but there may be others. Leptospirosis spreads by infected wild and domestic animals. The bacteria (leptospira) that infects these animals can reside in their kidneys, and the host animal may or may not appear ill. They contaminate their environment with living leptospira when they urinate. Pets can become infected by sniffing this urine or by contacting standing water that becomes contaminated by rain and water runoff. “This is a very serious, rapidly progressing type of leptospirosis in dogs,” Bolin said. “Dogs can appear normal one day and be severely ill the next day. People can become infected, so this also is a threat to animal owners, caretakers and veterinarians.” – For complete news release go to http://news.msu.edu/story/9952/

Montana 10/27/11 helenair.com: by Joe Maurier – Over the course of Montana’s unique five-week-long general hunting season, more than 250,000 proud hunters will chart more than 2 million days afield in pursuit of elk and deer. Some 13,000 will also have a license to legally hunt a wolf for only the second time in recent memory. Montana set the quota for the wolf harvest at 220 animals and each harvest must be reported. But we need many more hunters to keep an eye out for wolves to help Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks manage this relatively new addition to our state. The wolf, unlike most other wildlife species, offers more ways than one to be counted. Wolves howl. They walk on forest roads. They leave tracks. And they are increasingly observed by people. For skilled and informed outdoorsmen and women, wolves leave plenty of sign. Unlike deer and elk, wolves live in packs. When you find the tracks of a wolf—and especially the tracks of three or more running together—the odds are high that they patrol an area of some 200 square miles. In this manner, wolf packs sit on the map of Montana like a hundred interlocking puzzle pieces. Like any puzzle, the first few pieces are the toughest to find and fit together. That’s why FWP goes to the extra effort of capturing and placing radio collars on wolves across Montana. The home ranges of radioed wolves describe the outlines of each pack territory on the map, and the radios lead your FWP wildlife biologists in airplanes or on foot to the rest of their pack members. This fall, as hundreds of thousands of hunters comb the far corners Montana — often in tracking snow — we ask that they also take the time to report their specific observations of wolves or tracks to FWP. With that first hand information, wildlife biologists will return to many of the sites to confirm wolf presence. For complete article go to http://helenair.com/lifestyles/recreation/hunters-can-help-montana-s-wolf-management-efforts/article_9103d7ac-0063-11e1-8b76-001cc4c03286.html

Wisconsin 10/27/11 jsonline.com: by Paul A. Smith – The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources utilizes a team of volunteer trackers each winter to help monitor the state’s wolf population. It’s been called the largest such wildlife tracking program in the nation. Volunteers are required to attend one or more training sessions to qualify for the effort. The DNR is issuing its annual call for volunteers as well as listing the schedule of workshops planned in the coming weeks. Volunteer trackers are assigned survey blocks in forest portions of northern and central Wisconsin, and are asked to conduct three or more surveys in their assigned block each winter. Data they gather can be compiled with those of other volunteers to aid Department of Natural Resources biologists in evaluating wolf populations. – For complete article go to http://www.jsonline.com/blogs/sports/132700988.html

California 10/26/11 thecalifornian.com: Monterey, Monterey County: Local police responded to a mountain lion sighting Monday in the 500 block of Mar Vista Drive. While Officers were checking the area, a caller reported seeing a mountain lion in a backyard in the same vicinity. Officers witnessed an animal jumping from a tree and running up a hill into a wooded area. The officers did not get a clear view of the animal, but they believe it was a mountain lion based upon its size and movement.

 

Connecticut 10/27/11 East Haddam, Middlesex County: Local Animal Control Officer Michael Olzacki reports mountain lion sighting. First Selectman Mark Walter said he’s not surprised, despite the official state position that there are no resident mountain lions in the state. See http://www.theday.com/article/20111027/NWS01/111029262/1047

California 10/26/11 Siskiyou County: The Siskiyou County Public Health and Community Development Department is advising local residents that two bats have been confirmed positive for the rabies virus in late September and early October in northern Siskiyou County. In both cases, domestic pets have come in contact with the rabid bats. See http://www.mtshastanews.com/news/x2063883379/Two-Siskiyou-bats-test-positive-for-rabies

New York 10/26/11 West Winfield, Herkimer County: Health officials warn residents after a skunk that attacked a caged dog tested positive for rabies. See http://www.wktv.com/news/local/Residents-warned-to-be-cautious-after-rabid-skunk-attacked-caged-dog-132649673.html

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